Firearm Ownership, Means Safety, and Suicidality

Michael D. Anestis, Samantha Daruwala, Daniel W. Capron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Means safety interventions are effective at reducing suicide rates. This study examined beliefs about firearm ownership or storage and suicide risk, lifetime suicidal thoughts, and openness to means safety. Method: A community sample of 107 American adult firearm owners (51.4% male; 82.2% White; mage = 37.46) completed a series of self-report questionnaires via Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Results: Hierarchical linear regressions indicated that beliefs regarding firearm ownership or storage were associated with openness to means safety measures to prevent a suicide attempt by someone else, but not to prevent one's own suicide attempt. Additionally, results from analyses of covariance indicated that firearm owners with lifetime ideation had stronger beliefs regarding the association between firearm ownership or storage and suicide risk. Conclusions: Findings indicate firearm owners’ willingness to engage in means safety may be influenced by the degree to which they believe firearm storage is associated with suicide. Furthermore, firearm owners with prior suicide ideation are more open to the idea that firearm ownership and storage are related to suicide risk. Viewing suicide as salient to one's own life may serve as a focal point in efforts to increase openness to means safety among firearm owners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1044-1057
Number of pages14
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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